With each project I create, I like to add either an upgrade to my workshop or a new tool to my collection. The workshop upgrade associated with the window seat bookcase has already been implemented; before any lumber was cut.
I have been needing additional lighting in my workshop for a long, long time. I finally made up my mind to add some new light fixtures and reposition an existing one.
Much of last week was devoted to this project. The wiring was very basic – I ran a line from an existing light fixture and from then on it was as simple as connecting white lead to white lead; black to black and connect the ground. Pretty simple, or so I thought. As soon as I turned on the circuit breaker, it tripped. After checking my connections, I got the same result. A local company was running ads on TV talking about how frequently electrical fires happen. I took this as a sign and called in an electrician to find my mistake (a significant and unexpected cost I did not need).
But the additional light is fantastic – I should have done this a long time ago, and at a time when money wasn’t so tight.
I Buy a Big Honkin’ Piece of Cherry
To make the legs of the bookcase, I needed a nice, thick piece of lumber. It is a stroke of good luck that I have a Woodcraft store within a 10 minute drive from my home. More luck: they carry 8/4 cherry – a full two inches thick; plenty big for the legs. I purchased a board about six inches wide and close to eight feet long. At the check-out counter, one of the Woodcraft guys commented on the beefy nature of the board saying, “You are going to do some serious work with that!”
Once home, some serious work began. After cross-cutting my prized piece of cherry into three pieces (seen on my workbench in the second photo above), I turned to my powered jointer to get a straight edge and face on each board. I used my thickness planer to bring them down to right thickness. At the table saw, I began ripping each board into three sticks which would give me nine legs and the ability to reject the worst leg. I got some terrible burning while ripping these boards.
Don’t Use Dull Tools
This is such a simple concept, but dull blades become that way ever so slowly. I once remember ripping some oak on my table saw and having to force the oak through the blade. I bought a new blade and the difference made a big impression on me. Initially, it did not dawn on me that I was using a dull blade. Since this condition can sneak up on a woodworker, sharpening should just be a routine thing. But I am very impatient and taking the time to sharpen my blades is a task I am going to have to force myself to do.
The burning I got at my table saw I attribute to a blade with too much pitch which can be rectified with a simple cleaning. And I posted recently about using my jointer plane and it not working well. After a few strokes of the plane iron on my oil stones, surprise, surprise – I started getting good results. My powered jointer also has blades which need sharpening. I suspect even my thickness planer blades could stand a touching up. All in all, a lot of sharpening is needed, some of which I’ll do before I move further in this project.
As with most projects in their early stages, the photo above does not look like much, but I now have better lighting in my shop and I had ginormous fun using my jointer plane. And the cherry I bought is looking pretty good at this point.
We have a major family wedding to attend this weekend, so it may be a little while before my next update. I hope to have the legs finished and some work completed on the side panels. The bookcase will start to take shape at that point.